Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Book Announcement: A Gathered People: Revisioning the Assembly as Transforming Encounter by John Mark Hicks, Johnny Melton & Bobby Valentine (Leafwood Press, 2007)
I can now officially announce my book project that John Mark, Johnny and myself have been working on for the better part of a year. A great deal of thought, prayer and even sweat went into the writing of this book. A Gathered People focuses primarily upon the theology of corporate worship that Christians engage in together. The book examines (in a lively style I hope) in considerable detail the sweep of biblical teaching on worship in the canon: Hebrew Scriptures and Greek. We argue that worship is not something that is compartmentalized but rather encompasses all aspects of the disciple. However we also argue that there is something unique in the Christian experience about the Gathering of God's People.
There is a sweeping view of Christian gatherings from the second century through the Reformation and then a deep look at how assembly has been understood within the Churches of Christ for a century and a half. The book closes with some critical reflections on contemporary application of what we have learned ... and what does it mean to have assemblies shaped by the Gospel.
Here is a quick look at the chapter titles:
Introduction: 'Sacramental' Encounter?'
1) A False Dichotomy: Life and Assembly in God's Story
2) Assemblies in Israel: We Shall Assemble on the Mountain
3) Christian Assemblies: Gospel, Word and Communal Table
4) Assembly in Christian History: Word and Table as Historic Liturgy
5) Assembly among Churches of Christ: Our Formative History
6) Gathered to God: Divine Presence in the Assembly
7) Contemporary Gatherings: Assembling Worthy of the Gospel
Epilogue: "Why Didn't You Talk About ...?"
I believe this book has something important to say and that is why we wrote this book together.
There will be some, no doubt, that hate the book with a passion, there will be some that read it carelessly and reject it out of hand. Some are hesitant to do any theological reflection and thus miss some thing that are quite important we believe. I pray that both the Five Acts folks and the Edification Model folks will read with an open heart and open mind. In the future I may offer a tidbit here and there about the book.
The book will not be physically available until September but Leafwood has put it on prominently on page 3 of their new catalog for 2007-08. The book can be preordered directly from the publisher at www.leafwoodpublishers.com or 1.877.816.4455
I look forward to future dialogue based on the argument of A Gathered People.